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Abbas Kiarostami: The Fragility of Life

Saturday, November 19, 2011
6:00 p.m. Through the Olive Trees
Abbas Kiarostami (Iran, 1994)

“Like (And Life Goes On. . .), Through the Olive Trees combines a panoramic visual beauty with an acute sense of human tininess in the face of eruptive natural forces.”—New York Times

(Zir-e darakhtan-e zeyton).
"We are like fishermen," Kiarostami said of filmmakers, and for those who bought And Life Goes On. . . , hook, line, and sinker, there is Through the Olive Trees, the third film set in Koker and Poshteh, which unravels the fictions of the other two and necessarily sets up some of its own. This one is about a film crew from Tehran shooting in an earthquake-ravaged village using the local inhabitants as actors. But life goes on, bringing the show to a stop. It seems Hossein, the actor chosen to portray a young bridegroom, is smitten with his on-screen bride. Earthquake or no, through graveyard and forest glade, he has asked her to be his wife but she ignores him. Hossein is the hardest-working actor-philosopher in showbiz, and much of the humor and wry pathos of Through the Olive Trees is at his expense . . . or is it?

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Kiarostami. Photographed by Hossein Djafarian, Farhad Saba. With Hossein Rezal, Tahereh Ladania, Mohamad Ali Keshavarz, Zarifeh Shiva. (108 mins, In Farsi with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Miramax/Swank Motion Pictures)